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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Chives:

About:

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are a perrenial plant widespread in nature accross much of Europe, Asia, and North America.  Like garlic and shallots, chives are in the onion family.  They have a mild onion like flavor but fresher and more delicate.   Chives are repulsive to insects in general.  Insects are turned off by the plant's sulfur compounds.  Chives are sometimes grown in gardens to protect flowers and other plants from insects. 


Using:

Chives flavor matches well with eggs, fish, potatoes, salads, shellfish, sole and soup.  Snip fresh chives directly onto baked or boiled potatoes, or into soup.  Chopped chives are good added to cooked carrots, cottage cheese or cream cheese, green salads, cold soups, omelettes, and scrambled eggs.


My Story:

My first remembrance of chives in the grocery store was in a little  3 inch container.  They were live and growing.  They looked like grass.  In later years they were packaged  already cut.  I always liked the idea of the growing chives.  You could make them last a long time.   It was almost like Martha's oil from the bible. 

Difference between Green Onions, Chives and Scallions:

Grocery stores label skinny, green topped onions that have white bottoms as scallions or green onions.  They are usually the same plant, Allium fistulosum.  Chives on the other hand are typically considered an herb since the plant stays pretty tiny yet has a strong pungent flavor that is good as a seasoning in smaller quantities.  It is a different plant, Allium schoenoprasum.


Health Benefits:

Romans used chives  to cure sunburn and soar throat.  Chives have anti-inflammatory properties as well as antibiotic properties.   Research  hints at anti-cancerous properties and shows that chives can fight prostate cancer.   Chives are also shown to be effective in fighting salmonella.   Chives are rich in flavonoids like organosulphides which have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects.   The flavonoid content of chives also contributes to the reduction of high blood pressure and hypertension.
Chives are a good source of beta carotene, which helps to improve eyesight and clear acne.  Chives are high in vitamins C, and E, which have abundant antioxidant properties and help improve the immune system and help the elasticity of blood vessels and skin.  Chives are also rich in folic acid and potassium

Season:

Available year round.  They are easy to grow on a window sill or under a flourescent light.  Snip as needed down to a half inch.

Selecting and Storing:

Choose fresh colored leaves without dark edges or signs of rot.  Chives in good condition can last up to 3 weeks, when placed unwashed in an airtight jar and refrigerated. 


So..... Eat up!  Enjoy!  I'll show you how.


Simple but Good:

Corn and Zucchini Salad with Chives:


2 small zucchini, diced
1/2 - 1 tsp.  salt
1 TBS olive oil
1 TBS unsalted butter
4 ears seet corn, kernels shaved off
1 cup minced chives
1/2 cup chopped mint

Placed diced zucchini in a colander set over a bowl and sprinkle lightly with salt.  Set aside.
Heat deep skillet over medium heat and add olive oil and butter.  When butter foams add corn kernels and cook stirring frequently until tender (about 5 minutes).  Rinse zucchini and pat dry, then add to the skillet with chives and mint.  Saute' just until zucchini is tender (about 3 - 5 minutes).
Remove from heat, and season to taste with salt and pepper. 

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